Friday, July 8, 2016

The Shadow of Hojo Mori

There is a continent with many names. Many of them are spoken in the language of its native inhabitants, an ancient race of saurian bipeds. They are all descriptive names, if you understand that language, and many of them are contradictory.

It is indisputable that this continent exhibits certain unique properties, but there are different points of view regarding the precise nature of these qualities. As a result, what the dwindling highland empire refers to as the One True Land, some others call Exodus or the Wandering Isles, and still others call Nexus.

There are other sentient species there too, from what may or may not be other places, depending on whether other places truly exist, which the saurians consider a matter of debate. They tend to assign this place the name of their cultural concept of hell.*

There is a dense rainforest on this continent, named for the saurian who once ruled it with an iron fist, Hojo Mori, whose kingdom died with him. His descendants seem incapable of working together, and only only hold any authority within their own isolated settlements. They are feudal lords who only promise protection to those within their own city walls, and there are many dangers in the wilderness.

The place is overrun not only with dinosaurs (or rather, what the dinosaurs may have evolved into if they had escaped extinction eons ago), but also traces of the many outside cultures that Hojo Mori brought here long ago to enslave and exploit.


Abandoned Mining Colony
  • Emerald mine, abandoned 30 years ago when the earth into which the mine was carved was granted sentience and mobility by magical eco-terrorists. Anti-bodies formed in the shape of earth elementals and slaughtered anyone who couldn’t escape in time.
  • A few of the gems are in easy-to-spot locations on the first level. The elementals, stomping around below, sound like the faint echoes of heavy industry at a distance.
  • Lower levels contain more gems guarded by elemental antibodies. The elementals are incredibly loud, and have no chance of sneaking up on anyone who isn’t deaf. They exist as part of a hive mind that allows them to co-ordinate their attacks and defense, effectively adding +2 HD in combat whenever two or more elementals are present.
  • The lowest level contains a hive-mind crystal. Destroying it triggers a massive earthquake that collapses the mine.

Bronze Jungle Tyrant
  • Inspection of this huge, elaborate statue of the regional apex predator (basically like a t-rex but more so) reveals that it’s actually a vehicle with six seats in the head.
  • The activation gem (glows a brilliant white, is the size of your head, probably being worshipped by some feral tribe of filthy humans or elves or something) is missing.

Frozen Pond
  • A mace is half-buried in middle of a wide, frozen pond. The air here isn’t any colder than the surrounding rainforest, except within a foot or so of the ice itself.
  • There’s the skeleton of a sea monster visible, trapped underneath the ice.
  • Dislodging the mace requires a successful strength check and causes the pond to instantly melt, freeing an undead two-headed plesiosaur that attacks immediately, and dropping whoever’s standing on the surface of the pond into the water.
  • Three trigger words are inscribed on the mace’s handle, in the personal cypher of a long-dead saurian artificer. When these words are muttered before striking a contiguous body of standing freshwater, the mace causes the water to change phase as appropriate. The trigger words are codes for “liquefy,” “solidify,” “vaporize,” and “condense.”
  • the trigger words can also be used to cause additional elemental damage. When attacking a human, for example, the “vaporize” trigger word would cause 1d6 fire damage as the water content of their blood turned to steam, and the “solidify” would cause 1d6 cold damage as it became ice.

Bone Dog Encampment

  • Semi-nomadic escaped slaves taken from a universe where canine bipeds naturally grow partial exoskeletons. Only females are present.
  • PC bone dogs have hit dice and combat abilities as fighters, have advantage to wisdom tests related to scent and hearing, natural armor as chain, and a bite attack (but cannot use manufactured armor). Typical NPCs have from 1–4 HD and are usually armed with clubs or spears and bolas or slings. Their leader, Argluff, has 6 HD and wields a katana.
  • Their community won’t survive past this generation on its own, as the males were all killed in a unsuccessful insurrection attempt.
  • They need help to accomplish at least one of three goals: to get home or, failing that, to find some means of perpetuating their society here; either way, they also desire genocidal vengeance against their saurian ex-captors.

*The rare exceptions are usually those that have actually proven somewhat successful in this environment, such as the insectoid hive-minds, whose name for the place translates as Newhome. The individual hives have no names — the insectoids simply think of them as either This-Hive or Not-This-Hive, which are more similar conceptually to me/you than to here/there.

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